“Loneliness can lead to depression.” A college psychology professor taught me that. While it’s satisfying to occasionally be alone to brush up on hobbies and reflect on inner feelings, I feel it is instilled in our DNA to seek out camaraderie. Who we are and what we do (our “Self”) is fulfilled through communication and relationships. Words of encouragement, laughter, a smile, a touch, a high-five or thumbs up….these are the expressions that bring us closer together through shared experience.
Yet, it can be difficult to fit in when oxygen deficiency keeps you from being socially active. In my case, the survival mentality I adopted to stay health conscious-keeping me focused on my own issues-made it challenging to learn social awareness. In addition, hospitalizations made early elementary home-schooling necessary, stalling growth in my ability to have peer interactions. Though I’m what you might call a “social butterfly,” it’s always taken me a little longer to pick up on social cues.
By Jr.High School, a combination of looking different and lack of understanding for group dynamics made me unpopular and an easy target for bullies. There were many days I came home in tears, feeling so angry, powerless and alone. What tore me up was the fact that I knew I was a good person and wanted the same bullies to like me.
I’m not complaining; the down days have thought me considerable life lessons. For one, there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. Being alone is a physical isolation or separation between yourself and what is around. Loneliness is a mental perspective. The distinction is that while you can’t always change your location, you can change your outlook on life.
Feeling rejected and lonely in my early years fostered in me a deep sensitivity for the underdog, those who are under-appreciated or picked on. Working through feelings of isolation and despair allowed me to discover new strengths and passions. For instance, by exploring my life philosophy by journaling, I discovered a new passion for blogging! Becoming a member of this online community and communicating with similar folks excites me. Revealing how I overcame insecurities will hopefully inspire others face their difficult experiences and discover their own joy.
~~ Breathe Easy ~~
A parent’s job is often times a grueling, thankless job. They work tirelessly to provide for and protect their children in the hope that they will grow up and pay it forward through their own children. From the day I was born, beginning with an emergency heart surgery, my parents had to face difficult parental decisions with the goal of shaping me into a “normal,” well-balanced person. I reflect on the pressures and sadness they must have felt as they tried to put me on an equal playing field as other children. Medically related short-term memory challenges made it difficult to learn at the same pace in highschool, when teachers were pushing us harder than ever. I remember vividly the notes, meetings and tearful pleas between my parents and teachers. One particular teacher didn’t or chose not to understand how someone with oxygen deficiency issues would need extra help retaining information. Just thinking about him angers me. But it also brings me joy. Joy and comfort in knowing I have 2 people who will press their patience, ego and resolve to fight for me….and ask nothing in return. Sometimes I wonder how-or if I could ever pay them back for all they have done for me. What I realize is that there is no amount of money or huge gesture that could reciprocate the gifts, physical and emotional, they have given me. The best way I can show them my gratitude is to live my life to the fullest; with a smile on my face and a light in my heart.
I found this article online which illustrates a special type of bond between parents and their sons. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me.
Gift of Inspiration
Who will stand up to big business to save our environment?? Where is today’s Lorax??
DEEP BREATHING EXERCISES
Breathing Awareness and Deep Breathing:
- Lie down or sit in a comfortable chair, maintaining good posture. Your body should be as relaxed as possible. Close your eyes. Scan your body for tension.
- Pay attention to your breathing. Place one hand on the part of your chest or abdomen that seems to rise and fall the most with each breath. If this spot is in your chest you are not utilizing the lower part of your lungs.
- Place both hands on your abdomen and follow your breathing, noticing how your abdomen rises and falls.
- Breathe through your nose.
- Notice if your chest is moving in harmony with your abdomen.
- Now place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest.
- Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose into your abdomen. You should feel your abdomen rise with this inhalation and your chest should move only a little.
- Exhale through your mouth, keeping your mouth, tongue, and jaw relaxed.
- Relax as you focus on the sound and feeling of long, slow, deep breaths.
Complete Natural Breathing:
- Sit or stand with good posture.
- Breathe through your nose.
- Inhale, filling first the lower part of your lungs then the middle part, then the upper part.
- Hold your breath for a few seconds.
- Exhale slowly. Relax your abdomen and chest.
Practice these two exercises, in whatever combination feels best for you, for ten minutes, twice a day.
(Taken from Davis, Eshelman, and McKay; The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, 2nd edition; New Harbringer Publications, 1982.) ©Academic Skills Center, Dartmouth College 2001.