Category Archives: Depression
Have you ever looked into the mirror and felt like you were looking at a stranger? I sure have recently. Since the fire I have had a pinched nerve on and off. I went to speak on Mother’s Day weekend and by the time I got back I could hardly walk without pain. I had a new doctor and my first appointment was the end of May. She sent me for multiple exams, MRIs etc. Short and sweet the night of the fire L1 was compressed to 50%, degenerative arthritis, bulging discs and osteoporosis. OK, so where to from here? She sent me to a pain management team. The first doctor was to assess and see if it could be managed just with medication. He gave me medication to help manage the nerve pain, set me up for a nerve conduction test and a consult with another doctor for spinal injections.
I went to get the nerve conduction test only to find out the sensory part of the sciatic nerve on the left side is damaged. If you’re like me the following question was “How do we fix the problem?” It was further explained that the nerve is comprised of two channels, sensory and pain. The sensory part senses temperature, pressure etc. : all I had left was the pain. He politely told me nothing can be done except manage the pain with meds and injections. If I stand on my feet for work or sit too long (desk job or traveling) I will be in pain again.
Those of you who have kept up with my blogs and/or read my book already know before this I had already become disabled due to some medical issues and had to learn to like myself for what I could still do. What I could still do has once again changed. So yes…I miss me.
I miss playing the piano and walking as far as I wanted/needed to. I miss being independent and not having to ask for help. I miss being able to take care of my home without extreme pain. I truly miss working. I miss being active like I have been my whole life. I miss me.
I realized the day I was told this there was a part of me I missed even more. Somehow, a distance had come between me and God. I used to have such a close relationship nothing could shake my world up. This part of me not only did I miss ~ but had to get back. Fortunately, unlike the sciatic nerve issue, this is something I can change. I confided in my new neighbor (earth angel) and Bob Stacy. Not only did God send messages through these people to me but they also prayed with and for me.
As I called a dear friend today and told her about the results she shared Joni’s radio show she heard the other day. Joni said that she fought with God for a while after being paralyzed from the neck down. She has been in a wheelchair for 50 years now. I love what was shared with me. Joni stated that if she had totally given up and completely turned away from God ~ then she would’ve lost it all.
This darkness is not shared only by a few but many. We all go through times that we don’t “feel” God’s closeness. Oddly enough that’s when the true tests come. It’s easy to keep the faith when we feel Him walking by our side; but, when we don’t feel Him there it’s way too easy to drift away.
At this moment, please take the time to look into the mirror. Is your spiritual life what is was? Where you want it to be? Do you miss you? Remember, our relationship with God is like being married. You don’t always “feel” in love but you know you love that person. Just because you don’t always “feel” close to God doesn’t mean he’s not right by your side. He’s always there…waiting for your hand to reach out.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
I had started writing this 5 days ago and couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Hopefully, I can tonight. It starts out “two weeks ago” because that’s when I started writing it originally so I will leave it in its original timing. It may not flow as smoothly as others I have written but due to the chaos of the moment ~ it’s real.
Two weeks ago, I was sitting out on the back porch with Nacho and Scooch, our Chihuahuas, enjoying the weather and some coffee. Little did I know it would be the last time I would cuddle with them, the last time I enjoyed sitting on the recliner on the porch, the last time….
I went inside about 6:35 p.m. (Monday, October 24th) waiting for some dear friends to drop me off a plate to eat. I was lying on the couch and heard the Chihuahuas on the porch but didn’t think much of it. It sounded like they were possibly going to start singing. Little did I know they were calling for help. About 5 minutes later I heard a big BOOM sound followed by a second one. I got off the couch and walked to my office only to see the back porch in flames. I ran to the door, opened the door only to realize it was totally engulfed with flames and the roof was beginning to fall in piece by piece. Momentarily I stood, unable to move, as I looked at the recliners, where I last saw the Chihuahuas, burning at a pace one could never imagine. I was looking where our babies lost their lives minutes earlier.
At that point I knew that I had to do everything I could. I called 9-1-1 and neighbors were already outside calling as well. The fire was spreading quickly and time was running out. Against my neighbor’s wishes I ran back in to get our German Shepherds, Diamond and Zeus. I brought them through the garages to the front doors because people were already out there and could help get them. Diamond and I made it out the door with Zeus right with us. Once we got out I realized Zeus didn’t come. He had stayed in to try to save the Chihuahuas and making sure no one else was in the house.
I was outside on the lawn bawling. My son ran to the house once someone got him and he told me there was too much smoke, he couldn’t go in. I had already lost my fur babies and couldn’t stand to lose Zeus. I called his breeder who immediately got prayers from all over with social media. About 20 minutes later a volunteer firefighter walked out with Zeus in his arms. He didn’t get burned but inhaled a lot of smoke. They immediately started oxygen treatments.
As I sat on the lawn I couldn’t stop crying over the loss and kept screaming to get Zeus and my Daddy’s flag. So much hurt and pain traveling through every fiber of my being. I was covered in soot from going back in, coughing and having a hard time breathing. My husband got there as soon as possible. Our home, our memories, our fur babies….it was all gone within minutes. Yes, we were alive but stood there watching our life as we knew it burn to ashes.
As soon as Zeus was conscious we rushed him to the emergency animal hospital where he spent 4 days with oxygen treatment, x-rays, etc. to make sure he was ok. God blessed us with such a wonderful vet who told us “no charge.”
It took about a week and a half, a lot of tears and prayers for the nightmares to go away. Every time I tried to sleep I could still here Scooch and Nacho barking, smelling the smoke, watching the flames that took their lives, the sounds of the roof as it was caving in behind me as I ran…over and over again.
Even though life does go on and we all have our memories, there’s always that part that wishes you could have just one more day. To cuddle more, to love more, to say things left unsaid, to get more hugs and kisses…
Amongst the grief and pain, not to mention tears, lies hope and faith for tomorrow ~ for what God has planned for our lives. The sadness is normal as is the grieving, but all our days must be lived in faith ~ faith that God’s got this. Turning over the pain and grief into His hands one day at a time.
So, if you’re finding yourself too busy to spend time with your fur babies, your children, your spouse, family, etc. slow down a little bit. They need your love and attention. You never know when that kiss and hug is…. the last time.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it hone.
All throughout life we learn lessons. Some are taught from books but most of them seem to be from mistakes made; which in some cases makes the mistake worthwhile, as long as one did learn the lesson. Then there are those of us who seemed to not grasp it and made the same mistake over and over again (at least a few more times). One mistake I made within the last few months was not continuing to write.
In May I had received bad news regarding my Pomeranian mix, Bella. She was diagnosed with an extreme case of IVDD (spinal disease). The most we could do for a while was treat her with meds to keep her comfortable. Before we go any further ~ let me describe Bella for you. Physically she had the coloring and shape of a miniature German Shepherd. She didn’t have the usual Pomeranian tail. In reality, she barely had one at all, just a cute, little stub. Possibly due to this is why when she was happy she would wag the whole bottom half of her body while tap dancing on the floor. She was always “smiling”, friendly to other humans and dogs, and stole the heart of everyone who met her. Aside from that, she was my best friend. She kissed the tears from my eyes, cuddled next to me and felt the need to be my protector. As the head of the pack, she took care of everyone. Now you can imagine my Bella girl. On with the story…
For a couple months Bella seemed to be doing fine and needing only minimal medication. Here’s where God’s plan and His hand once again took control of my life. Through Facebook, I had started a prayer chain for a wonderful boy, Odin. I was blessed to meet Debbi Willis, breeder of working German Shepherds, Stone Creek Shepherds. We started talking due to Bella but had met because of Odin. Shortly down the road Peter got a beautiful, black German Shepherd, Diamond. Within 2 weeks God had dealt the hand and Debbie brought one of her service dogs, Zeus, to me for a new home. What a beautiful, big boy he is! Zeus and Bella hit it off from the very first day and became buddies. Within another week we realized Bella had given Zeus approval for taking care of me ~ changing of the guards. The next two weeks those two were practically joined at the hip. I felt my world was complete. Diamond was once again in the house with Peter and I had Zeus and Bella. My friends, hold onto those special moments….
A few days later the Chihuahuas also joined the pack inside and everyone was feeling their place out. Wednesday night, I brought Bella out on the porch because she didn’t care to join everyone; instead, she laid on her favorite couch. I was feeling emotional about the reality that one day I would have to put her down. She started licking my tears and gave me more love that night than ever before. I was thanking God for my blessings and my Bella girl. As I spoke with Debbi I told her it would be easier for me if something happened to her than to hope I know when the right time is. God heard me.
Thursday morning Peter woke me up telling me we had to take Bella and put her down. To not go into the details I can tell you God did hear my words; something happened and I took her to the vet. She remained stoic and leaning on me. As she was crossing over the Rainbow Bridge, I was there telling her it was ok ~ she could go ~ Zeus will take care of me ~ I love you ~ it’s ok…
We took her home and the dogs watched intensely from the porch as Peter buried her. For two days we have all mourned, especially me and Zeus. I looked at Peter that night and told him “Babe, we need to learn from this. We’re always so busy taking care of things we keep putting “us” off. It could’ve been one of us.”
The more I thought about Bella the more I realized that she taught me some very important life lessons:
- Always smile through the pain.
- No matter how silly it looks, always have a smile and a little dance when your man comes home.
- Kiss away the tears of your loved ones.
- Always be friendly and protective of all.
- Live in the moment. Love in the moment. Let your life make a difference.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
My birthday was in April and it was the hardest day I have experienced in a long time. It was the first time I didn’t have Mama to call and sing me Happy Birthday. Sound silly to you? Well, in a way it did to the logical side of me as well. At the same time, I found myself crying on and off all day for it really made me miss Mama even more. I also realized how much it meant to me that she did that every year. Just a simple phone call and her singing to me. When I was working and she couldn’t reach me she would still sing Happy Birthday on my answering machine at home or voice mail on my cell. Another hard lesson how much the little things in life really do matter and not to take them for granted.
Many times over I have heard girls speak of the expensive gifts their boyfriend / husband got them. When I was asked why I married Peter my answer was, “He brings me coffee in bed.” The days I’m in extreme pain he gets me an ice pack and moves my heat pad to the living room so I can at least lie on the couch and watch TV. He may despise some of the little things he has to do when I’m laid up, but sooner or later he will get to it. So many little things day after day that seem to go unnoticed, and probably do once in a while; it’s these little things we need to remember when times get hard.
Recently, everything that could go wrong has. The enemy has been attacking us from every direction from health to finances. It’s time to remember the little things that God has always done for us during these times. For example: the many times He calmed my storms when I have been close to a seizure, the many times He has provided financially at the last minute, the time He sent an officer to help us out of a ditch we slid into on an icy road, and the list goes on and on. Every day God blesses each of our lives but because it’s not a major bush burning experience we tend not to pay attention to the little things He is doing and working in our favor.
I want to take the time to urge you to STOP! Stop worrying and start praying and praising. Take the time to remember when He has been there for you to help you through the times you are going through now. Start living in faith instead of talking about having faith.
This is Devaughn ~ bringing it home.
Where do I begin with this one… I was sitting at my computer with my grandchildren in the living room watching TV. I heard my son come in and ask “Where is Mama? Where is Grandma?” I told him I was in the office. He came in and said “Can I have a hug?” in a whispery tone that was hard to understand him and I looked up and saw my son with tears streaming down his face as he was reaching for me. I stood up and held him as he cried telling me he didn’t know if he could take anymore. As a mother my instinct was to hold on and not let go ~ and we didn’t for a brief while. We then stepped out onto the back porch and talked. His heart was breaking due to his separation and upcoming divorce. There is no greater pain than to see your child in pain, no matter how old they are, and yet there’s nothing you can do or say that will make it better.
My son is an Iraq Veteran and I’m proud of him. I am blessed and grateful that he did come home; but, he didn’t come home the same. The issues he had from what he had gone through has taken his life and turned it upside down. He used to be real outgoing and love crowds whereas now, he can’t be in a large crowd without an anxiety attack. As his marriage was falling apart he finally went for some counseling and was diagnosed with PTSD, and praise God they gave him some medication that allows him to stay calmer.
When he came to me the other day it took every ounce of strength I had to hold it together until after he left. I truly broke down myself and thought back to when I had reached that breaking point. On September 7, 2008, I had a seizure and fell down the stairs resulting in a compound and burst fracture of L5. After the results of an MRI telling me I couldn’t have back surgery because it was too dangerous I left a message for Rick Curren, III. I had worked for him in the medical field and knew his knowledge was vast and trusted his advice. What this meant was that I would be off of work for 2 months at least. I remember crying telling Rick that I was scared of losing my house. It was his response that made the impact. Not only did Rick remind me it was just a house and this was my health but the vital part was reciting the 23rd Psalm and going over the meaning of every line in it. I then felt a sense of peace.
About 5 years earlier my mother’s Pastor told us that if you’re ever scared recite the 23rd Psalm 5 times a day. I went home that night and realized I couldn’t remember it after all these years. I took out my Bible and started reading it out loud. The first time was to remind myself of the words, I made it through the second time; but, about halfway through the third time I broke down crying turning to Jesus the way my son turned to me. I must add, I have never been the same since for it was at that very moment I felt His presence and went from being just a believer to having a relationship with Him.
You see, even though my son made it home he still fights battles every day ~ we all do. Whether as a Veteran, survivor of rape and/or abuse, addiction, the list goes on and on. We all are casualties of some kind of war or another. When my son came to me for comfort after all of these years it gave me a glimpse into how Jesus felt when I came home to him that night. No matter what war you are facing ~ Jesus is waiting to give you His sense of peace ~ all you have to do is ask.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
Famous quote ~ “To be or not to be..” ~ my friends, that IS the question of the day. Lately I have experienced a lot of tragic circumstances in my life, the main being the passing of my mother. I still tend to pick up the phone to call her. Especially on these days that the walls of life seem to feel as if they’re caving in. Yes, I miss her and especially talking with her and getting advice from her; yet, the answers come to me as if she were on the end of the phone ~ always pointing me in one direction ~ God and His Word.
Yes, to be or not to be, it’s all up to me ~ and you. First, let’s take this in the mild top layer, success and happiness. It is totally up to us as individuals whether or not we will be successful and happy. To rely on someone else for either is a mild form of either ignorance or stupidity. Was that blunt and to the point? Yes. Does that make it not true? No. I have to continuously remind myself when I start feeling bummed that it’s up to me to make myself happy. Yes, there are those “low” days and sometimes phases that no matter how hard we try, for some reason we’re feeling bummed. Answer: pray it away. If not for yourself, pray for someone else. Repeat until all better. LOL. Sounds simple, it is. See, there was a time where I hated being alone and one particular night really stands out. I was dating someone who was agnostic and I didn’t want him to leave because I just felt so alone. His response before leaving, “If what you believe is true, you’re never alone.” Wow!!! That truly hit home! Why? Because it is the truth!!! A lot of times our unhappiness comes from the ‘feeling’ of being alone. Put on some good upbeat music, after praying of course, and start dancing, cleaning, whatever may take your mind off of how you ‘feel’ for it’s just that ~ a feeling; and feelings come and go. Tomorrow’s another day.
As always, everything has it’s layers. Let’s take a look at our Spiritual life. To be or not to be an every day Christian ~ yes, that choice is always up to me, and you. What does that mean? Have mercy people, open up your Bibles and read what that means! Loving and forgiving others, giving to those who are in need, not judging others; and the list goes on. Now, some people think that there’s so much you can’t do if you’re a Christian and living a Christian lifestyle. Again, read the Word ~ if you look closely you’ll find there’s a whole lot more do’s than there aren’t don’ts; so if you spend your time doing the do’s you don’t have time to even think about the don’ts. Ever feel like your life isn’t ‘exciting’? Go ahead, start walking everyday with Jesus and get ready for the ride!
Digging down deep now. Let’s take a look at our home lives as spouses. Our marriage, to be or not to be. “Things just aren’t like they used to be.” Nope, sure not. People grow up, have children, responsibilities and all of a sudden there’s the feeling of “I don’t have a life.” My friends, yes you do. That IS life! Satan continuously attacks in the home putting thoughts of what we’re “doing without” and our fleshly desires and he’s good at it. You have to realize it for what it really is. All of us have a tendency at some point or another of bringing up the past when disagreeing. Stop it! Satan wants you to look at the past so you can’t even believe in a wonderful future that God has in store! We’re human. We have flaws and we make mistakes. In 1 Corinthians 13 there is a verse that specifically states, and I’m paraphrasing, that love does not keep count of wrongs. Look it up! That’s God’s instructions! So, at this point we have a choice when we feel like all hope for our marriage is gone: our way or God’s way. To bring this “Christian” lifestyle and thoughts into our marriage will make your decision whether this marriage is to be or not to be.
Yes, we need to look back once in a while so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes. At the same time, don’t pitch a tent and camp there ~ there’s too much of a future ahead of you and you don’t want to miss out on what God has in store for us! God loves you and forgives you daily, show this love to others, especially within your own family. In every aspect of your life you have a choice. To be or not to be ~ you decide.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
I don’t know about the rest of you but lately I am going through some serious identity crisis issues! It really boils down to my life changing from being able to live doing anything I put my mind to, to a life of hardly being able to do anything. There’s a big difference in being born with some disabilities than having them occur later in life.
Within the course of my life I have accomplished most anything I put my mind to. Let’s look at the list: President’s Physical Fitness Award, Beta Club, Honor Roll, 1st chair 1st clarinet in band, majorette, A.S. in Computer Programming, B.S. in Biology/Chemistry with a 3.924 GPA, worked in accounting, legal secretary, owned a bookkeeping business, traveled playing piano, recorded CDs, music director for Anni in Theatre, EMT, even a black jack dealer! The list actually goes longer if I look at smaller stuff. Not to mention mother and wife and now Grandma. Hmmm, with this list one would kinda’ wonder where someone could feel insecure and lost? I lost my capability to do most everything overnight. I am finding it hard to be content with “just being”. Since I have played the piano since the age of 5 my self-esteem has always relied on my accomplishments. I have always had a lust for life and living it to its fullest ~ now to find myself spending most of my time sitting watching life go by and not being able to “live” as I once knew life. It can leave one feeling dead while they’re alive.
I think everyone has had this empty feeling from one degree to another. It’s not something that you have to have disabilities to relate to. The feeling of just merely existing. Why does this happen? What causes this? How do we conquer this feeling? Oh yeah ~ like there’s a simple answer to these questions!
One thing we all tend to do is to allow our identity to be what our job is, what car we drive, the income we make, our abilities, etc. And yet, it’s ignorant for us to continually think this way as Christians. One thing I am learning is just how useless I really am. This blanket statement is really for everyone though ~ without God we ARE useless. As Christians our identity is being a child of God, our abilities and everything else are gifts. So, why do we allow ourselves to get hung up in everything else? We’re human. We’re all Peter. Think back to when he was walking on the water. As long as he kept his eye on Jesus he was fine. Once he took his eyes off Jesus he started sinking. That’s basically the answer to all questions in my opinion.
In closing I would like to remind you to keep your eyes on Jesus. If you start feeling bad about your life, your accomplishments, etc. just remember ~ Jesus, the Son of God, came down in human form and was a true humble servant. Should we think we should be more than that? When we get to the core of our lives, we are not here for us, it is not all about us ~ we are here for Him and His purpose.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.