Why Suicide?

The question is always, Why? Why suicide? The answer is different for each person. The commonality is pain. Imagine, the worst day of your life. Imagine living that day every single day. That’s what depression and anxiety feel like.

It feels like everyone is living in the light, but your switch has turned off. You are all alone in the dark. You are moving in slow motion. You are confused, but you don’t know why. People say to you, ”You seem depressed.” Your answer is always, No I’m fine. The problem is you aren’t fine and you won’t be fine unless you seek help.

I understand this too well. I believe I suffered from depression and anxiety for many years before I finally got professional help. Every time I had a physical problem, I was told by doctors that it was in my head. I was really physically ill with several ailments. I still am.

Doctors said I was just depressed. It had a negative connotation. I insisted I wasn’t. The first time I listened to a doctor, I was given Prozac. I didn’t sleep for a week. I threw them away, called the doctor. He said keep taking them. I told him, I was worse on the medication and didn’t go back to him.

Having any type of mental illness carries a societal stigma that you would rather not deal with. People think you are weak, don’t pray enough and need Jesus (Since I was Buddhist, I need to go back to Jesus) or think you are strange and they avoid you.

Since childhood, I always felt something was unlikeable or unloveable about me. This began with my parents and feeling abandoned by both of them. I felt that no one truly loved or understood me. I felt inadequate, despite all the other successes I was having in life. I never addressed my feelings.

I had been raised by family members and never wanted to upset or seem ungrateful to the people who reared me. I just followed directions and did what was asked of me at home, at school and at work. Admitting I had low self-esteem would just bring unwanted opinions. I would hear how fortunate I was and how other people had it harder. I needed to be stronger. I didn’t see things that way.

I lived through and survived several traumatic experiences, back to back, in a short space of time. I was harmed by the actions and lack of compassion of others. I kept in my feelings, as I always did and never really noticed the sadness was increasing. Nothing brought me joy, but I kept moving through life every day.

I reached a point where I didn’t see the point of going through life feeling the way I did. It was draining physically and emotionally. I stopped attending Buddhist activites. I stopped chanting. I reacted badly to everything and everyone. I was physically ill with a myriad of ailments. Was this all my life was and would be? I was dealing with major depression and anxiety, but I didn’t know that.

After days of not sleeping, I took a handful of sleeping pills, instead of one. I didn’t care if I woke up or not. I woke up angry that I was still here, suffering and unhappy. I ended up admitting myself to a psychiatric ward for a few weeks after someone convinced me to seek help. I couldn’t stop sobbing. I finally relented. I knew I couldn’t continue living this way.

Medication and psychotherapy brought me peace. It didn’t happen overnight. For the first time, I openly discussed my pain with my therapist. I was stronger by speaking up and out. I was finally brave enough to face my life and my demons.

That was almost 10 years ago. I still go to therapy every two weeks. Having someone neutral listening to you is so beneficial. At times, I still feel a bit depressed but I have learned to see the signs. I’m no longer taking medication, but if I ever start to feel the darkness creeping back, I won’t hesitate to take what I need.

I can say that despite all the illnesses I still suffer from, I’m a happier person. I’ve stopped holding everything in. It’s harmful to my health. When I resumed chanting, I became spiritually stronger too. I’ve never stopped.

I say to people all the time that therapy is needed and necessary. In our country, mental health is not taken seriously enough. There are never enough resources for something so critical to the well-being of our citizens. Regularly seeing psychologists, counselors and psychiatrists should be seen as normal. You are not crazy. It is self-help and self-love.

We all have times when life can feel absolutely unbearable. We may never know what led Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to take their own lives. We may never know if they sought help or had a support system. Just know they were in a level of pain that they couldn’t see the end of. They wanted peace.

The darkness consumes you. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

The tunnel just seems to go on and on. Don’t brush it off when people say they are sad or depressed. If they deny being depressed, just be available and listen to them. A subtle remark could be their cry for help. Be the lantern for people in the dark. Be kind. Be their friend. You could help save a life.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’ is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Do not suffer in silence. Seek help.

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Day 29 – 30 Day Writing Challenge

I can’t believe this 30 Day Challenge is almost over. The days really flew by.

Today’s topic- What are your goals for the next 30 days?

This challenge has shown me, I can be more consistent with my writing. I know I can write off the cuff and within an hour if I have to.  Writing more often is one of my goals. I will post as often as I can. Thanks to everyone who has offered encouragement and began following the blog during this month.

Since spring has decided to show up and stay around, I’ve gone back to tutoring adults twice a week. It’s fulfilling and gets me out the house for four hours every week. I really like my students and want to help them reach their personal goals of getting their high school equivalency diplomas, getting better jobs or just being able to read to their kids. I’ll do my best to assist them. Juggling multiple health conditions can be a challenge but my goal is to tutor everyday that I’m scheduled to be there.

I recently re- joined Weight Watchers to keep my weight under control. I’ve eaten healthy but I gained back some pounds I lost last year.  I’m not happy about it. Taking medications with side effects of weight gain and not moving enough has been an issue. Tracking what I eat allows me to see when I’m about to overindulge. I can also see when I can give myself a treat. Over the next 30 days, I plan to adhere to the program.

Winter was rough on my body and I didn’t physically feel good or pain free enough to exercise. Yesterday, I got myself back in the gym and rode on the incumbent bike for awhile. I’m taking it slowly. I hope to get there twice a week over the next 30 days. I also walk 9 city blocks each way when I tutor. That’s a bit more exercise. I rest half way there, drink water and then start again.

Another goal is to meet up with a few people and catch up. It’s been awhile. I have also lined up a few “out of my box “ adventures that I’ll do by myself. I’m trying to have some fun, with little expense.

I joined a women’s study group in SGI-USA where we will be studying the history of our lay Buddhist organization as written by our mentor and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. There so much to learn and so much guidance on how to handle situations and life in general. I’ve been part of this group before and it’s always rewarding at the end to see how in-depth study can change your perspective and understanding. We meet once a month, in addition to the other monthly activities that we have in the SGI-USA.

My practice of Buddhism has helped me learn and understand how to make myself better and how to help others. President Ikeda writes, “Altruism is the most effective means of self-realization and self-perfection. Doing good for others is the best way to develop one’s own character and find greater happiness for oneself.”

With this in mind I’ll do by best this month to attain my own goals and do good for others at the same time.

Tomorrow is the end of the 30 Day Challenge, the start of new goals and the continuation of challenging myself everyday.

Day 22- 30 Day Writing Challenge

The challenge continues… Today’s topic called for 10 songs but, I added a few more. Why not? You will discover my tastes run the gamut of everything.

Put your music on shuffle and post the first 10 songs 

1. Simply Beautiful-  Leela James  https://youtu.be/BxTn1om6sWE
2. Versace on the Floor-Bruno Mars
3. Cry Me A River- Justin Timberlake and Timberland
4. Under the Moon and Over the Sky-
Angela Bofill
5. If Only For One Night-  Luther Vandross
6. Juicy Fruit-  Mtume
7. Be Ever Wonderful-  Earth Wind and Fire
8. I Want Candy-  Bow Wow Wow
9. Method of Modern Love- Daryl Hall and John Oates
10. Far Away- Kindred the Family Soul
11.All At Once- Jeffery Osborne
12. As You Like It- Euge Groove
13. Misled- Kool and the Gang
14. Since I Lost My Baby-  Michael McDonald
15.Blue Bayou – Linda Ronstandt
16. Love Takes Time- Mariah Carey
17. You Mean More to Me- Lionel Richie
18. Rock With You-  Michael Jackson
19. Home-  Stephanie Mills
20. Firework-  Katy Perry
21. Diamonds-  Rihanna
Listen and enjoy. I should have posted this about 30 minutes ago but, I listened in full to all of the songs. I couldn’t help myself  😉

Catching Up

It’s been awhile since I wrote a new post. I just decided to do a bit of a followup on some of my posts.

My mind has been a bit cloudy of late and i have been having trouble putting my words together. Insomnia, back pain, shooting leg pains from sciatica  and a compressed nerve in my back have kept me awake at night. I also had new health diagnoses which I emotionally had to deal with. I like to make sense when I write, so I took a hiatus.


I have a few updates:  I love the new bed I received from my Uncle. It vibrates. The head and bottom raise up and down by wireless remote control. The first night I vibrated, wave massaged and raised it up and down, hundreds of times.  I’ve calmed down. I raise up and down only once or twice a day. The first week the bed was on wheels, but since I have hardwood floors, I was rolling every time the bed moved or I tried to sit on it, LOL. I called the company and they came to put on rubber casters to save me from rolling out of my bedroom door.

Last weekend, I fulfilled a life long dream as I returned to the Kings Theatre. I saw The Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight in concert. She was magnificent and I was on a Gladys high for days. She sang all about love, sang all her greatest hits, including Neither One of Us. I teared up a bit when she sang, The Way We Were. She put all of her voice into every note and I detected a catch in her voice at the end. She then talked about friends who had passed away, including the late Marvin Gaye. Former Pip and Gladys’ big brother Bubba came on and had his own little portion of the show, including singing Happy by Pharell Williams. She had a hard time getting the show back from him, LOL. Gladys’ voice has always done something to me because it’s filled with richness. Diana Ross has the flash, Gladys has the voice. I was really happy that I made it to the show. I was recovering from a 2 day migraine, but Gladys was not to be missed. If I ever fall into a coma, please play Gladys at my bedside, I will surely awaken.


I was awed and amazed at the response I received from my last post about Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. I spoke for many in my description of living with fibro. It is not an easy road that we travel and sometimes the road is filled with many bumps and detours.

Many people who deal with chronic illness deal with some level of depression. Let’s face it, if you were hurting all the time, your life and very being had changed overnight, depression may chase you too. There is confusion and feelings of loss of your former self. I have fought with depression and was brought to the very brink of despair.

I felt so lost, pained and alone thinking that this was all that was left for me. I couldn’t chant and felt no one understood what I was going through. I was unhappy for a myriad of reasons. I didn’t care anymore and thought that was okay. One night I took some prescribed sleeping pills, because that MF insomnia had me up for five days straight. I took a few extra pills, not caring if I woke up the next day. I wanted to rest and have peace and not pain in my body. I cried because I woke up. (Damn, I can’t even do this suicide thing right. That is what my brain told me, SMH)


After a serious crying jag for hours and talking with someone, I sought medical help and was diagnosed at the hospital with major depression and anxiety. I was put on medications to help me and also started going to therapy to finally talk about issues from my childhood to adulthood. Therapy and also learning how to use my faith to uplift me in dark moments were the greatest gifts I received from that life moment.


A few of my Buddhist sisters were the first people to visit me in the hospital. For the first time in months, I chanted. It’s a memory I will always treasure. The compassion that they showed me made me feel very loved at a time when I felt empty. At that time I had not really, reached out to people who could and would have helped me on the path. They could have shown me how to utilize my faith and still get medical help. Buddhism is reason and I wasn’t using it.

Many years later, I’m no longer taking medications, but I still go to therapy, because there are many bumps and detours on the road of life. Depression can be a long battle for most people who have experienced it. I have fought and won over the major hurdles.  I plan to live, live well and live the greatest life possible, filled with happiness no matter the circumstances that I am facing.


I reveal myself so transparently because June is Mental Health Awareness month.

We don’t know what other people are going through. They may appear fine, but be in a dark place. Your health is important, Your mental health is also important. You are not “crazy to take medication for your mental health. Don’t refuse to see a “head shrinker” because no one in your family ever did it. In order to open our lives and change it, we have to do something different from what we are accustomed to.  There are many people trained to help us get out of the darkness. If you see someone who seems down, be kind to them. Kind words without judgement is what they need. Everyone could use a helpful and compassionate ear. Compassion is sorely lacking in our world.


I chant Nam myoho renge kyo to uplift me and I read encouraging guidance and books from SGI President Daisaku  Ikeda. He reminds me, I have a mission for my life and it is to help others and show them through my life that they can be happy. We call this actual proof. I know I went through the hardest struggle so I can encourage other people, as I am now on the other side of depression.


My faith keeps me on the right path through this journey of life. No matter what, I will continue to chant everyday, morning and evening prayers to stay the course and never give up. That is what my Buddhist faith has taught me.

Heart to Heart Connection

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything to this blog, I have been having trouble trying to put words and thoughts together.  Brain fog is evil!  I have been experiencing sciatic pain, in addition to fibromyalgia pain. I also have been having headaches on and off. Standing hurts. Sitting hurts. My legs hurt. I have spent much of the past month lying in bed. I have missed most of my Buddhist meetings and have missed seeing my Buddhist friends. A few have visited, chanted and talked with me. Others have called to check on me and for that I am very grateful. So many times when people are chronically ill, folks just don’t know what to say. They have said things repeatedly to soothe and comfort but when the pain appears to be never-ending, people have no more words.


After spending so much time lying down, I’ve learned a few things. The most important is that my bed is not as comfortable as I thought. A part of my bed is broken. Not the mattress, the bed. When the nerve pain runs through my legs or back in the middle of the night, the sinkhole in the middle of the bed doesn’t help. I thought about purchasing a new bed, but I am one of countless people surviving on a disability check. I’m grateful for the money and qualifying for it was a job all by itself. When I stopped working, my income was reduced TREMENDOUSLY!  I really couldn’t afford to purchase a new bed.


Recently, I have become reacquainted with my father, after 47 years of no relationship. Along with him, has come cousins I didn’t grow up with. I also have Aunt’s and Uncles that I knew nothing about and don’t know me. I’ve been in touch with one cousin and one of my uncles. My Uncle has had a really heartbreaking thing occur in his life, but he, at his core is a strong and intellectual man. His heart is wide open and accepting. He’s told me about family members, I have never met including my late grandparents. We both deal with ongoing pain. We have connected on a sort of spiritual level. and we think a lot alike in that realm, though he is Christian and I am Buddhist.


Last week, I got a text from him on a day when tears were running out my eyes and my pain was so unbearable, I was ready to go to the emergency room. I’m sure that would have made me feel worse, dealing with waiting and sitting, so I didn’t go. He asked how I was and I said terrible. I was in pain and about to lay down. Without him knowing anything about my bed situation, he asked about the type of bed I was sleeping in. Was it conventional?  I said yes and then…………


Folks, Love stepped in. My Uncle, who I have never met, offered to purchase a new bed for me.  A bed with wave massage and the capacity to change into in 1001 positions. What a very special gift!! A gift that will last a lifetime according to the manufacturer and people I’ve spoken to, including my uncle, who has one himself. A bed that has an ability to ease my pained body. Thank You is just not enough. We have not yet laid eyes on each other, but our hearts have touched.


In Buddhism, his gift to me, we call it a benefit. My prayers are always to feel better and work on my human revolution so I can work for world peace (kosen rufu), through introducing people to Buddhism. My suffering is causing me to chant more. As I chant more, my life is experiencing change. Some things are easy to see, others are not. I am still developing as a human.  I know one day, so much of what’s happening to me will be more understandable and make complete sense. One lesson already learned, Pain has made me more compassionate. I continue to learn so much as I study Buddhist concepts, almost 11 years into my practice. Buddhism affects my everyday life, every day.


The other thing I have learned while laying down and now preparing for my new bed to arrive, I have stored a lot of things under my bed over the years. OMG!  I’m working hard right now to clean it all up and have the area ready for new comforts. I do it slowly, as I’m trying not to flare up the fibro. I pray that everyone I know has someone in their life, like my Uncle ,who wants the best for you, no matter the cost to their wallet. Thank you and Besos, Uncle.

I hope I will now be able to write more often and post to this blog. Being out of bed for me means more experiences and things to write about. Here’s to more writing and more posting!!


Winter Woes…. Spring I Need You!!

It’s February and this weather is killing me. i have been in physical pain, no energy, filled with headaches and little sleep. I try to distract myself with Facebook, YouTube videos of favorite music and Vloggers ( GabeBabeTV, DearNaptural85, Daily Davidsons and Toni and the Boy are some favorites.) I’m addicted to The Golden Girls marathons. (Sophia Petrillo is one of the greatest characters EVER!!)


I can no  longer work because of  chronic pain and fibromyalgia. I remember a time not that long ago when I was using my Librarian degree, working at a public library.  February was like tax season for librarians. Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day all in the same month. Children and their parents came in droves for information and books. I learned a lot every February during Black History Month. Teachers never seemed to do their homework, before they gave out an assignment. Sometimes there was only a line or two about a person the child had to research.They asked for pictures of people who lived and died before cameras were invented or whose faces would not have been drawn in a portrait.

Black History Month was started by Carter G. Woodson, a scholar, who knew that Black people were more than just slaves. We have contributed to every part of American History.


An improved refrigerator design was patented by inventor John Standard of Newark, New Jersey on June 14 1891. Benjamin Banneker invented the first wooden pocket watch and so much more. Judy W. Reed patented a hand-operated machine for kneading and rolling dough. Lewis Latimer invented the carbon filament for the light bulb. Gerald A. Lawson invented the modern home video gaming console. Charles Drew invented improved techniques for blood storage creating, the blood bank.


My elementary school was named after Granville T. Woods. Woods invented more than a dozen devices to improve electric railway cars. His most noted invention was a system for letting the engineer of a train know how close his train was to others. We studied Black History when I was in elementary school. I first heard a Nina Simone song within the walls of Granville T. Woods Elementary School.

Black musicians and entertainers have invented Blues, Jazz and Hip-Hop music. Click on the Hip- Hop link for an interview with DJ  Kool Herc considered by many the Godfather of Hip Hop.


During February all the book shelves with black inventors, entertainers, sports figures and politicians would dwindle fast. The obvious and easiest  would go first, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman. I would have to encourage people to go beyond what they already knew.

They didn’t know about Lena Horne signing her Hollywood contract with a clause  that her father insisted upon, she would never play a maid in films. While looking at the cover of books about Ms. Horne, I was asked, She’s Black?!??  She was always glamorous, but her parts were easily cut when the films played in the south. Some people didn’t know who Jackie Robinson, Langston Hughes or Nelson Mandela were. I was teaching history lessons while doing Readers Advisory .

I was busy all day long changing book displays, adding books. Every February, I became a teacher, a scholar and used my own knowledge ( I love reading biographies, so I know a few things…) to help others. I was exhausted but I liked doing it.


February is different for me now. I post Black History facts on my Facebook page so I can keep learning and teach others. We need to be aware of the past and open our eyes to the state of our present. There are some that say there is no need for Black History Month. I beg to differ. Many in the generation behind me do not know much history; much less Black contributions to America and to the rest of the world. It’s unfortunate, but true.


Schools spend so many hours preparing students for testing but are not teaching about some of the aforementioned black figures. Many black families are very unaware of the greatness of our people. Today, not positive reality TV stars, singers, rappers and ball players are most popular and worshiped. There are scientists, doctors, researchers, engineers and others that need to be known. Every family of all denominations, owes it to their children to know the history of other groups. If you live in an area where there are no people who look like you, Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and even, Women’s History Month are there to teach you. We have traditionally been taught European and early American history, so let’s step outside the box. Let’s break down barriers. Let’s embrace one another. Let’s embrace culture. Please keep the libraries full and those shelves empty of books and gain knowledge. Knowledge truly is power. Ask a Librarian. Librarians are the best source in the world!


This winter can’t end soon enough for me. The polar vortex has become too much. As I type my fingers hurt. I’m walking a bit hunched over from back pain. My bed has become a place where I can not find sleep but I spend a lot of time in it as chronic fatigue  syndrome plagues me.


There’s a passage in the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin that says: Those who believe in the Lotus Sutra are as if in winter, but winter always turn to spring. Never, from ancient times on, has anyone heard or seen of winter turning back to autumn. ”(The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1, p997). I know this is a fact, but sometimes it feels like this is never-ending, as the weather and my body engage in a fist fight. I am really feeling the body blows.


I’m angry at all groundhogs and their predictions of more weeks of this frigid hell. I am waiting for Spring. I want to throw Spring a party. I think Spring should be a national holiday. I want to celebrate the sun and warmth. I know Winter always turns to Spring. I wish it would hurry up, we are running out of places to put the snow. Sigh…….spring

Diary of a Migraine

I finally started my blog, and apparently the news upset my body. It felt like lighting struck the back of my head. My bed became my refuge and the place to uphold me. This past week, I was stricken with a migraine. It was one for the record books. I have been having migraines for years, but they are not traditional, because nothing about me is. These headaches can last for days.

I once had to wear sunglasses in the house for a week, because the light from the sun outside was slowly killing me. WebMD describes migraine symptoms as moderate to severe pain (often described as pounding, throbbing pain) that can affect the whole head, or can shift from one side of the head to the other.Sensitivity to light, noise or odors.Blurred vision, Nausea or vomiting, stomach upset, abdominal pain.Loss of appetite.Sensations of being very warm or cold.Paleness.Fatigue, Dizziness Fever(rare) Bright flashing dots or lights, blind spots, wavy or jagged lines(aura).

You can read about it but feeling one is very different.

I peeked at the Golden Globes Awards, Sunday night with one eye squinting at the television. Common gave a fantastic acceptance speech after winning Best Song (Glory), his collaboration with John Legend for the movie Selma.
I checked into Facebook on my phone a few times. I know if I don’t post something folks may think I am on the deceased list. I have a bit of an addiction to Facebook (Don’t judge me. I have a few simple pleasures in my life, LOL) I have made great friends with total strangers, reconnected with people and stay connected with family.
Day 2– Absolutely nothing was working and believe me, I have a lot of medication to choose from. My regular migraine medications were laughing at me. Pain was all over my face. I was not standing up too straight. I was drinking tea, trying to sleep and basically waiting out the day hoping for relief.
Day 3- My Facebook friends were sending me healing vibes and wished me a speedy recovery. I needed that kind of optimism and so appreciated them. A brother in faith sent me a home remedy and I tried it. I lay down in bed chanting quietly to myself, that this had to STOP! I felt beaten and defeated, but I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t sleep and fibromyalgia symptoms started kicking in. My back decided it wasn’t going to work anymore. Come on man! Are you serious with this?

On the final day of the beating and throbbing, I felt like Sheila E, was living inside my head playing percussion. I was living in the house without lights on. My bill should be low next month. I struggled to my prayer altar.

The SGI-USA webpage describes our Buddhist practice as this: “The practice of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and recite portions of both the second (Expedient Means) and the sixteenth (Life Span) chapters of the Lotus Sutra in front of the Gohonzon. This is the fundamental practice of Nichiren Buddhism, performed morning and evening.”

I read the daily guidance for January 14th. It said, Everyone at some time suffers from illness in one form or another. The power of the Mystic Law enables us to bring forth strength to overcome the pain and suffering of sickness with courage and determination. The Daishonin writes”Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is like the roar of a lion. What sickness can therefore be an obstacle? That final sentence is engraved in my head and heart, since I need to remind myself of this often.


I sat at the altar, even though I felt dizzy and discombobulated. I knew I couldn’t give in to defeat. I live my life like this all the time, because I’ve suffered from chronic illness for at least 15 years. I hurt everywhere, somewhere, all the time, everyday. I’ve been through major depression. I no longer take medication for it, but I can’t let my mind master me. We need to pay more attention and take more seriously people who suffer with depression. (Another conversation, for another time.)

I said my prayers with the determination that I will win over this Boom, Boom, Boom in the front of my head. The following morning, I could feel the heaviness in my head lifting and I actually got some sleep. I rested, I told Facebook my status. Rejoicing was in the air! My face pain is better, but the rest of my body still hurts.

Here I am, back at the blog. It’s been a rough week and yes my computer screen is a bit dim, my carpal tunnel is bugging me, but I am here. I am fighting like Muhammad Ali. I take blows on the ropes, but I keep coming back. Migraine be gone and don’t let the door hit ya! The Lioness has roared! I am a Fighter, a Winner and I am Victorious!