Tag Archives: Friends

Well….

Well, I’ve been gone for quite awhile, but I am back again.    I am told that blogging is beneficial in a myriad of ways:

  • It is good for sharing my assorted thoughts and ideas.   I enjoy streams of consciousness  as much as anyone, but that is a scary thought,  I am reasonably confident that you don’t want to know what is going on in there.  Trust me on this one.
  • It is good for increasing traffic to my website.  I haven’t seen that, but then again, I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain with keeping this blog current.   So given that, it isn’t fair of me to make a determination one way or the other.
  • It is good for creating a relationship with my readers.  Now this I take objection to.  I just cleaned out over a thousand comments for this blog.  Every single one was from a spammer – not exactly the readership I am seeking.  That said, they do think I am pretty fabulous – check out these quotes;

“Everyone will cherish this release, it’s most valuable.”   There are variations on this telling me that “everyone will enjoy this piece.”

“This really is nice compose, I will shaire the idea for this frinds”  Occasionally I have “nice produce” but for some reason, “frinds” is always misspelled the same way.

  • It is a great way to introduce folks to new designs and to make special offers to readers.  I think this falls into the same category as my second item above.

I promise to do a better job at updating and posting, aiming for twice a week.   I just hope that I am not alone out here with the people who seem to be obsessed with outlet prices on bags and sunglasses!  ( I am sure they are very nice people, but I’m not so sure they are looking for anything that I have to offer).

In any event, all this said, I will see you again early next week – let me know if you are here!

Lise

Gorilla on your Back

depressedsm

I’ve talked about writing this article for several years, but the timing never seemed quite right. It’s rather heavy for a blog about gift baskets, and yet such an important topic that ignoring it seems the wrong thing to do. And then, as you will understand after reading, there is the fear of opening myself up to criticism and disapproval. All these factors have conspired against my doing this.  But the time has come.

I have both a chronic illness (Crohn’s disease) and clinical depression. In my universe, they are separate beasts that I struggle with on a daily basis to control. My friends and family are supportive and loving, but had trouble understanding what depression felt like until I came up with the Gorilla concept. to help my father, who also had clinical depression, convey his emotional state to his medical teams.

Depression is an ape on your back. Every day presents a different ape to deal with. The goal in living with depression is to have a spider monkey. Spider monkeys are tiny little fellows. They cling pretty tightly, and can certainly get in the way, but hey, you can manage a spider monkey. You can put a leash on it, you can walk around with it on your shoulder and it might require some attention, but you can breathe, you can think, and for a while, you might even forget it is there. A spider monkey isn’t perfect, but it’s absolutely reasonable.

Some days you have a monkey on your back. This guy is bigger than the spider monkey. He is probably still controllable, but he’s certainly more of a problem. He is going to steal your food, so you won’t eat much. He is going to distract you so you can’t focus on what’s in front of you, and he’s going to trip you up, but you can probably work around him with some extra effort.

Orangutans are harder. They are big, heavy and have really long arms that reach around and cause trouble. They push away things that give you joy, make it hard for other people to get near you, weigh you down. They will literally cause you physical pain and block your ability to see the path to relief. If you live with depression, you develop the strength to carry around an orangutan, but you are aware of its presence 100 percent of the time. It impacts the way you eat, sleep, play, work, and interact with friends and family. Having an orangutan on your back is a huge, heavy weight to bear.

Then there is the gorilla. Imagine how hard it would be to get out of bed with a gorilla on your back. Think about how difficult it would be to get dressed, to brush your teeth, to go to work and do your job with the crushing weight of a gorilla on your back. Imagine the pain — both physical and emotional — that the gorilla is going to cause. Try to breathe or eat or think; the effort is exhausting.

Now, live with your primate of the day when no one else knows it is there. They can’t see the monkey, orangutan or gorilla, and you can’t make them believe it’s there. They want you to shake it off, ignore it, think about something else. They haven’t lived with a monkey on their backs, and they cannot begin to understand how overwhelming life is with a monkey.

Those of us suffering clinical depression are given tools to help control and tame our beasts  — medications, therapy, exercise  — but some days those are not enough. If we aren’t using all the available tools, finding the strength and energy to pick them up is sometimes more than we can do, because simply being is an exercise in emotional and physical endurance.

So, how do you help someone like me  live with a monkey on his or her back?

One: Don’t be judgmental. Trust me, no one wants to live like this. No one would choose to deal with this. It might look like we are not doing what we need to or that we are wallowing in the pain. But from where we sit, we don’t see any way out. We are too busy just trying to breathe.

Two: Respect it. While you may never be able to fully empathize, respect that this is a very real pain, in every sense of the word. We know that what we are feeling may not be logical, may not be reality, but that doesn’t change how it feels  — and it feels lousy.

Three: Offer the help you can. Be a friend, show the love. Don’t walk away or get angry  — that just feeds the monkey. Ask (gently) if we have taken our meds, help us make a doctor’s appointment, come by and just spend time, even if we can’t tell you we want you to. Listen to us, let us cry and encourage us to not check out from the world. And know that sometimes we are doing all the things we are supposed to be doing … and yet King Kong is moving in. It is just like that sometimes.

Finally, watch for cries for help. I am blessed; my family and friends know that when I have gorillas, I need support. And thanks to this analogy, I am able to tell them how I feel with just a few words, instead of trying to explain how the day is going. I have a monkey, I have an orangutan, I have a gorilla.

The gorillas are real.

Been awol….

DOMESTIC GODDESS 180So it was pointed out to me that I have been awol from this blog for almost a month.  Not the way this is supposed to work.   My apologies (not that I really believe that I have an audience of folks waiting with baited breath for these posts, but I can hope…). So what has been keeping me away?  What are you going to hear all about in the coming days and weeks (which is really what that question means)?  My calendar was stuffed in full in May – my birthday (we’ve already covered that), moving my servers, running surveys, Mother’s Day,  Sweets & Snacks show, a holiday party(delayed because the 4th quarter is so insane),  an anniversary party, a memorial service, working on an Eagle Scout project, prom, Senior awards, graduations, family parties celebrating said graduations….I’m exhausted just looking back at my calendar! But no excuses.  I simply dropped the ball.  OK.  Happens.  Picking myself up and moving right along…  First and foremost, new items in!  We found some fabulous new items at the Sweets and Snacks show that we are bringing in and I will be introducing in the the next few days.  Some retro (intro?) spective thoughts on the end of the school year, and moving forward. Glad to be back…. smiles! Lise

birthdaystar

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday….to me!    My birthday was last Friday, and I must say, it was absolutely lovely.  I started the day with a 7 am meeting, full of warm wishes and friendly faces.  I will admit that I could do without the early start (not so much a morning person) it did set a great tone for the day.  A friend stopped by to take a walk with me – and I actually made the time to go out and take the walk!

Sandi took me out for lunch and surprised me with a new Kindle (paperwhite…now I can read without a light!)  My sister stopped by with a chai latte and tulips for me.  Homemade ravioli for supper and a square dance to top it all off.  Really really nice.

But one thing had me grinning like an idiot all day.  Facebook notes.  All day I had these little blips showing up on my page as folks took 30 seconds to wish me a happy birthday.  And you know what?  It really made me smile.   Still making me smile.

So thanks to everyone who took time out of their day to help make my day so special.   I really appreciate it!

Smiles.
Lise
(PS – if you haven’t taken our Facebook survey,  I’d appreciate it if you would swing by – it takes about a minute and a half!)

College Visits…..

 

Photo Courtesy of Drake University

Photo Courtesy of Drake University

This week my husband and I took our eldest to visit Drake University – I am typing this up on our way home.  They had a fully scheduled day, packed with tours, lectures, Q&A sessions – even during lunch!  I’m struck by several things –

  1. Drake is a small school – 7000 students including their law and graduate programs.  After attending the University of Illinois, this was a pretty dramatic change for me.  Seriously – classes five minutes from your dorm?  What is that all about?  I am sure I walked at least 3-4 miles a day in Champaign. That said, this was decidedly a college campus.  It never occurred to me to look at schools this small when I was in high school, but it is clearly a great size for many kids. (There is a nutritionist on staff who came out to talk to Joel and gave him her card!  That would NEVER happen at a Big 10!)
  2. There was a serious focus on internship opportunities, study abroad and knowing the administration.  I can absolutely believe all of those things enrich the college experience and better prepare students for success in our increasingly global economy.   I’m glad that schools are offering these opportunities to their students – I think it is good for all of us. 
  3. I don’t feel old enough to have a college student.  College was over 20 years ago, and yet in so many ways feels like yesterday.  I’ll be honest – being in touch with so many of my friends from high school and college goes a long way toward keeping that feeling alive.

There is something very special about the friends you make in your late teens and early twenties – we are all changing so dramatically as we morph from children into adults.  Those folks who take that journey with you can make a very profound difference in your life. I feel very lucky to have been able to maintain friendships with so many of you – including those folks I just get to connect with on Facebook.  Thanks for sticking with me.

Smiles!

Lise