You Just Don’t Care

When a close friend shares with you that the pastor made uninvited sexual advances towards her and you argue that the pastor is a godly man and wouldn’t do such a thing, you just don’t care enough about protecting people against abuse in a religious community.

When you see bruises on your sister’s arm and know that her husband has a history of physically hurting her and you choose to not ask her about the bruises, you just don’t care enough to make things messy within the family.

When your young child tells you that the female babysitter is making him do things that are “scary” and you ignore his words because it’s more convenient for you to keep using the same sitter, you just don’t care enough to protect your child from harm.

When you see a co-worker being lied about and their career damaged because of the toxic behaviors of others, you just don’t care enough about workplace abuse to be part of the solution to stopping it.

When you know a friend plays psychologically abusive mind games with his girlfriend and is obviously causing her intense emotional distress, you just don’t care enough to stand up to the abuser and tell him you see the games he plays.

When you watch several family members scapegoat another member to the point of causing anxiety for the person, you just don’t care enough to be an ally to the abused individual because you don’t want to be targeted too.

When you know your friend’s wife chronically belittles and berates him to the point of causing him to be depressed, you just don’t care enough to tell him that he deserves to be treated better.

When you look the other way to abuse, exploitation, and discrimination you simply just don’t care enough.

Will you care enough when the tide of life shifts and you are the target?

Will someone else care enough about you and intervene?

What have you recently done to show that you are willing to stand in the gap for another person?

Or what have you done to send the message that you just don’t care?

What are you willing to do to stop abuse in all its forms?

Your answers to these questions will help shape the type of communities we all reside within.

Survivors, know that many of us do care. Many of us work tirelessly to loudly ring the warning bell that abusers walk among us. Many of us love you as sisters and brothers. Many of us believe that bad things did happen and were covered up by people who should have stood up for you. Many of us are you, a survivor, too.

“抑郁”的贫瘠 by Simeiqi He (The Poverty of “Depression”)

抑郁感觉像是个即尴尬又可怕的词,朋友们你们说是吧?好像只要简单的张开嘴吐出这个词 ——“抑郁”,我们就能非常迅速地感觉到一种不明的羞耻和不自在感像电流一样通遍全身。哪怕我们尽量得小声,哪怕我们声音小的连自己都快听不到自己,我们还是无法摆脱那样的感觉。这个可怕的词语“抑郁”就像是拥有一种把我们的世界,乃至我们的人格笼罩在阴影之下的力量。而且要不了多久,我们就被困在了对快要成为,或已经成为了他人和我们自己眼中那个“抑郁患者”的无限恐惧之中无法自拔。

但是为什么?为什么这个词语“抑郁”就能使我们一时间这么尴尬,这么害怕,这么羞耻?为什么这个短短的两个字就能够拥有力量改变我们的现实感,让我们变得不知所措?难道仅仅是因为这个词吗?诚然,这个词看起来确有令人颤栗之感,但是我们不难发现使我们颤栗的远不是两个字那么简单。这两个字可能意味着他人的眼光以及对待我们的方式会从此异样;也可能意味着突然间我们过去所有的成就以及我们曾今所引以为豪的一切,从此刻开始都会灰飞烟灭;还可能意味着一时间我们的凌云壮志和对人生最宏伟的憧憬都迅速地缩小成了一个狭窄且无望的“目标”——“要好起来”;甚至更可怕的是,这两个字还意味着我们可能就这样了,从今以后就将这么“抑郁”下去了,希望渺茫。但是,我的朋友们,真的就是这样的吗?如果抑郁,这难道就是我们无法改变的命运吗?要是真的是这样,那么敢问,真的就应该这样吗?

我记得有人曾经说过:“语言的一个很奇怪的贫瘠之处在于,当天空在一个孩子的生日那天下起雨来,我们用这个词“抑郁”来表达这个孩子的感觉;而当一个人马上就要自杀的前几分钟,我们也同样用这个词“抑郁”来表达他的感受”。 朋友们,是我们贫瘠的语言辜负了我们。是这个贫瘠的词“抑郁”辜负了我们。又或者说,事实上,是我们的社会辜负了我们,因为我们的社会拒绝真诚得正视这两个字——去承认这个词仅仅是两个简单的字,而用这个两个简单的字来定义丰富多彩的生命是多么的滑稽,不过系风捕影而已。我们的社会和我们的文化,因为自身的虚情假意,赋予了这个词“抑郁”太多的太多的力量来肆意评说我们的尊严和人格,使我们变得冷漠,变得残忍,变得孤立无援。朋友们,我拒绝相信这就是我们的命运!

除去“抑郁”这个词被赋予的力量以外,抑郁的经历亦是无比伤痛和真实的。我不会否认抑郁的经历确实是一个苦难的经历。它使我们受伤,使我们心碎,使我们变得脆弱。但是我的朋友们,你们知道在这个世界上还有什么会使我们受伤,使我们心碎,使我们变得脆弱吗?是爱。对生命真挚,深刻的爱从不曾开始于满是欢喜之地,相反,它起源于酸甜苦辣的生活以及刺痛的伤口和痊愈的那些日夜。我的朋友们,你们知道吗?我们痊愈和对生命深刻挚爱的前提,恰是我们对因抑郁而备受痛苦的正视。你们知道吗?我们的正视确是我们勇气的标志,是对一切贬低我们尊严和丰富生命的力量的坚强抗议。抑郁似乎有着孤立我们的能力,但是我们许多人也相信,我们渴望爱的人性本能有着更强大的力量,使我们伸出双手去团结众人,去痊愈,去帮助这个世界同我们一起痊愈。

The Poverty of “Depression” – by Simeiqi He, Graduate Associate

Depression seems like an awkward and scary word, isn’t it? By simply opening our mouth and uttering this word – “depression”, we can very quickly feel the awkwardness, the shame, and the strangeness running through our body. Even when we try to be as quiet as possible, even when we are barely making any sound, the feeling still doesn’t escape us. This scary word “depression” seems to have the power to cast a shadow on our world and, sometimes even worse, on our identities. And before long, we are trapped in the fear of becoming, if not already being, the “depressed person” in the eyes of others and of our own.

But why? Why does this word “depression” have to be so awkward, so scary, and so shameful? Why does this short word – with only ten letters – have the power to paralyze us and alter our sense of reality? Is it just the word? Sure, the word does seem to have terrifying teeth, but it doesn’t take long to realize that there is more to the word. Somehow the word may mean that others will start to look at us differently and treat us differently. The word may mean that suddenly all of our great achievements in life and everything we used to be proud of now surrender to this new condition. The word may mean that suddenly our greatest hopes and greatest visions in life shrink to a narrow focus “to get better.” And even worse, the word may mean that we are it, stamped and owned by “depression” for the rest of our lives. But is it, my friend? Is this really our destiny, our unchanging fate? If it is, then should it be?

Someone once said, “it’s a strange poverty of the English language…that we use this same word, DEPRESSION, to describe how a kid feels when it rains on his birthday, and to describe how somebody feels the minute before they commit suicide.” Friend, our language has failed us. This word “depression” has failed us. Or maybe it is the other way around, our society has failed to look at this word with utmost honesty – to acknowledge the simplicity of the ten letter word and to acknowledge the impossibility of it to overpower the richness of human lives. Our society and our culture, with its own insincerity, have granted this word “depression” too much power to turn us against each other and over our identities and our dignity. And this, my friend, I believe should not be!

It is a painful reality that depression is hurtful, not just the word itself, but the experience of it. I would never deny that the experience of depression is an experience of suffering. It wounds us, breaks us open, and makes us vulnerable. But my friend, do you know there is something else in the world that breaks us open and makes us vulnerable? It is love. A true and deep love of life doesn’t start in places where all is happy, on the contrary, it starts from the messiness, the wounds and the healing. My friend, do you know our acknowledgement of the painful experience of depression and its complexity is indeed a precursor for healing and a deep love of life? Do you know that it is a sign of profound courage and protest against all forces that seek to devalue our dignity and the richness of our lives? Depression seems to have the power to isolate us, but many of us also believe that our human instinct of longing for love has a greater ability to empower us to reach out, to unite with people, to heal, and help the world heal with us.

Call Simeiqi at 817-897-8882 or email
Simeiqi@southlakecounseling.org

Things to Remember When on Empty

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” – Charles Dickens

Almost three weeks ago I published my first sole-authored book. The lead up to launch day reminds me of this famous quote by Mr. Dickens. It truly has been the best and worst of times. Through each season of life we get to glean a little more wisdom and, sometimes, a little thicker skin. Now that I am a couple weeks out of the post-launch vortex, it seemed like a good time to encapsulate some of what I have noticed while running this intense sprint to complete the book and get it into the hands of readers.

As an entrepreneur, there are times when not only the candle is burning at both ends, but in the middle and just about melted down to a puddle of wax. That basically sums up my energy levels during the book project. It was a slow slide into chronically living on fumes. Many of us can recall times when we would have to muster up enough energy to get through the must needed tasks of adult living, and the fluffy extras just dropped off the cliff into the abyss of not going to happen.

When we are in seasons like this, it is a great time to watch ourselves and the attitude of those around us. For our own self-reflection, we need to be aware that our reactions may be more exaggerated because we are crazy tired. Little life annoyances that would have left us shaking our heads before, may now be dealt in ways that are unusual for us. Example? While driving on a busy street that resembles a slow freeway, I was first off the blocks at a light and apparently I did not gun by car’s engine quite fast enough for the lady behind me so she kept incessantly honking at me. When I jerked my head up to look in the rear-view mirror, I saw that she was wildly waving her arms in the manner as if to shoo me forward and then, she gave me the middle finger salute. Oh no she did not! Oh yes she did!! I would like to say I just shook my head in calm, I-have-my-emotions-under-control disbelief and drove my car normal from that point but, I did not. Remember, I have been living life on empty and right at that moment, rude-lady-driver was the tipping point of my patience. So I very passive-aggressively slowed waaaaaay down and continued to check my rear-view mirror to watch this lady alternate between waving me on, to flipping me off again, to then jerking her mini-van into the lane next to me and zoom past. Did I just keep my eyes on the road and my hands at 10 and 2? No, I did not. I jumped into the cesspool with her and we exchanged “friendly” gestures.

Did our road rage stop there? Nope. It continued light after light after light. After a while I started to worry that perhaps she was headed to the same school pick up that I was and good grief, was this rude-lady-driver a fellow school parent?! Oh, please say it isn’t so. Reality set in of just how ridiculous I had behaved in response to this extremely annoying person. Luckily she kept going when I turned left to head to the school and I really felt stupid by my exhaustion induced actions.

Now, being in a busy season does have some benefits. Maybe not the most patient while driving but living on empty can bring into crystal clear clarity who we want to spend time with and who is a soul drain. When we find ourselves very thin on time and attention, we see which individuals are there to walk along side of us and who is there for their own benefit.

When we have nothing to give, the takers seem to vanish and that’s a good thing.

Often times when we are well-rested we have the energy to make excuses for people’s poor behaviors or attitude towards us. We may fill in the gaps where they failed to do what they were supposed to do and our actions cover up the truth about them. When we have normal energy, we will do the heavy lifting to maybe keep a broken relationship limping along. This can occur among family, friends, or in the workplace. During normal energy times, we may take on more weight than the other person. Now, enter into a season of spinning deadlines or high stress and no way are we expelling time or resources to make a bad situation slightly better. Sweep the issues under the rug? Nope. Have the desire to bounce back again and make something keep going that needs to end? Nope. Going to spend time with people who have shown their true colors?  Nope. Nope. Nope.

Your true friends and your true foes become a lot more clear during and after a season of living on empty.

When you have sorted through who is there for you, these people become like little breaths of air in a stuffy room. They shine like gems of many beautiful colors. They are your people and your appreciation of them runs at an even deeper level. Relationally cleaning house is a good thing and a time of being on empty will help facilitate healing changes.

If you find yourself in a tough, busy season, I hope that you will give yourself the gift of acceptance for where you are right now. Make a plan for when your busyness will end so it doesn’t feel like a never ending dark tunnel.  If you are working on a project (like I was with the book), I hope it is a huge success for you. Trust me when I say that you will learn about yourself, but mostly about how other people relate to you going after your dreams.

Keep dreaming big!
Shannon

Healing from Hidden Abuse is now available on Amazon!

To place a pre-sale Kindle or paperback order, click HERE

There are no words to describe my joy of having finished my new book, Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse.

I wanted to write the book, and the personal reflections journal in the back of the book, because I felt that outlining the actual stages of recovery from this form of abuse had not yet been done in the genre. There are other books that do a wonderful job of telling a survivor’s personal story and sharing their experience in finding healing. A few other therapists have also written on the topic, but Healing from Hidden Abuse is unique as it outlines the process that people navigate through regardless of whether the abuse took place in a relationship, family, friendship, work, or church/ministry.

Within the pages of  Healing from Hidden Abuse, the reader walks through the six stages of recovery.

The stages are:
One: Despair
Two: Education
Three: Awakening
Four: Boundaries
Five: Restoration
Six: Maintenance

The book is currently on pre-sale in Kindle and paperback format. The book will be released August 30th!