Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Religious genocide and Robin Williams...

Yes, well those two have absolutely nothing in common, but I felt compelled to write about both, because one has been on my heart for many, many days now and the other was just brought to my attention this evening before dinner when my husband announced the shocking revelation that Robin Williams had potentially committed suicide.

I'll tackle Robin Williams first.  It was very poignant that Mark Hart, the Bible Geek in our Catholic faith, pointed out on Facebook that in the movie, Dead Poet's Society, Robin Williams quoted Thoreau, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation."  Isn't that quote surreal for what just potentially happened?  I had read that he had struggled with depression.

As someone who too, struggles with depression (and has taken anxiety medicines and anti-depression medications) I can relate to that quote completely.  I am someone who keeps internal struggles mostly to myself, or tries to make jokes about these things.  The last 10 weeks of my life-have been a very dark, very deep, troubling, time in my life.  I was at a very bad place.  Nothing seemed to bring me any hope. I truly believe that at times, I am a very faith filled person- but even my faith seemed a million miles away.  And really, that's what depression feels like.  Like everything that can help you is light years away from you and nothing can really help at all- nothing.  It's the lowest of lowest feelings, the despair at times is almost stifling.  Nearly choking the air out of ones lungs as we struggle to catch our breath.  It's as though the water gets deeper and deeper and nothing stops it from covering our head.

What Robin Williams struggled with, is what I believe millions (especially an extremely low rated number who don't even ADMIT they are struggling) of people struggle with on a daily basis.  That whole, you don't really know what other people are battling phrase, is really true.  I tried not to act depressed when I was out-which was rare, but I didn't call anyone, I didn't seek anyone out, I certainly didn't make plans for get togethers or anything social.  Heavens, I could barely be social with the minions in my own home let alone people outside my little circle.

There are so many battles waging inside people and some of it self inflicted, I do believe we sometimes set the bar way too high with expectations, but some of it is hereditary.  I believe in my heart that my grandfather was an alcoholic because he was depressed.  Alcohol to people who are depressed is a suppressor (well, at times can be a downer and make it worse-) but people drink to avoid feeling that empty void, or they drink because they don't like themselves, or they drink because they think it will help them to forget how "miserable" they feel.  It never works, and what happens is that it takes more and more and even MORE alcohol to subside the pain, the heartache, the emptiness and before we know it, alcohol is better when it's mixed with pills.  Any kind of pills, narcotics work best- they numb the nerve endings and allow for an even deeper release of feelings of despair.  Then there is the hard core stuff- like what Mr. Williams even admitted to having a problem with-cocaine.

Unfortunately, like my grandfather and others, this never works.  And in reality, only alienates the person who is in such depression further from anyone else.  I'm not saying Robin Williams was an alcoholic or an abuser of drugs (he had admitted he had addictions and even spent time in rehab places) but depression can and does lead to abuses if not treated early.

It's a tragedy.  Did Mr. Williams know just how much people loved him?  I'm guessing he knew to an extent- but clearly, it didn't help me, so if he was even deeper in a depression, it wouldn't affect him at all.  I know my friends love me, I know my family loves me, I certainly didn't dwell on suicide or anything like that, but just because I knew how they felt about me, didn't change my depression and make me jump out of bed and do cartwheels and say, "yippee!  I'm cured!!!"

Depression is very real.  Suicidal thoughts are very real.  Feeling as though there is nothing, no one, or anything that can help, is very real.  There are crisis centers and hotlines for people to call/visit if they are struggling.  Mental illness is something extremely untalked about and unfortunately, misunderstood.  I was humiliated when I first battled anxiety and depression.  How could someone like ME struggle with this?   How could someone like me have to resort to taking medicine or talking to someone?  I was embarrassed, because of the stigma associated with it for so long.  I'm crazy, I thought.  I am now officially mentally unstable.

Well, a lot of people are and it's in the very real sense of the word, not just me saying my kids are making me mentally unstable because they keep leaving their dirty clothes everywhere.  It's very real and many, many people suffer from it....

Unfortunately, I don't think there is a "cure" for depression.  There is definitely medicine that can help control it.  I have tried it, too.  I do know if it ever gets to the point of no turning around, I can seek medical assistance again.  I certainly try to eat very healthy, and take extra vitamin supplements that are known to help "perk" a person up.  I try to sit outside in the sun for a little bit when I can with zero sunscreen on (please don't tell my dermatologist-he needs no ammo for my skin!!!)because I swear it makes me feel better, I take extra D as well because the sun is not always around in the snow land I live in....  I also talk to my husband.  I tell him when things are getting very dark for me and he's learned to listen and not try to immediately "fix" what's going wrong with me.  He still tells me to get out and visit my friends because he knows that's the best medicine I can take, but he also listens and he prays in earnest for me.  He is a sincere person with his faith.  He prays for me every day.  It makes me fall in love with him all over every time I think about how much he loves me and perhaps, that's the best medicine during those darkest times when things seem a million miles out of my reach.  His love lifts me up and reminds me that there is a Higher Power who is loving me even more..... which brings me to my second thought....

Religious Genocide.

Unless you're living under a rock, which perhaps there are people out there who are, people have to be aware now of what is happening in Iraq and Syria.  There is an extremist group- Jihadists, who call themselves ISIS.  ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham.  Now I suppose they go by IS.  They are trying to form an independent state in both Syria and Iraq involving several areas- such as the third largest city in Iraq, Mosul.  They have basically taken over Mosul.  So the are extremely dangerous.  Taking over this city, they also took over the banks, which some of estimated as much as $400 million they have their hands on.  That kind of wealth can buy lots of weapons and help in their recruitment, which people have left other countries (Australia as just one example where Khaled Sharrouf lived prior to moving to Iraq to join ISIS forces).  Sharrouf has a video of his son (who I believe is 7) holding the head of Christian Iraqi with a huge smile on his face.  Let the brain washing begin, eh?

This group, which is again, an extremist Islam group, believes there is only one acceptable religion and that all others are infidels. They intend to either convert these other Christians and other groups such as the Yezidis.  They have driven out and killed so many people and tortured ones that are still there.  It's horrible and the fact that it's been going on and the rest of the world was just watching, and waiting for Iraq to "help itself" was almost maddening!

These Christians in countries like Iraq and Syria and even other middle eastern countries, have been seriously persecuted for many years now, but the violence is escalating.  The silence of the media is deafening and we are relying on religious orders and religious news (which have little money to project to the rest of the world the problems) to give us the latest.  So some of the information we're receiving is skewed.  Some of have said there are beheadings, while others agencies have reported it's false.  Some of have said the Christians who paid the stiff fines are being killed, some have said it's false- they are living there and not being chased out.  I find that incredibly hard to believe that they are allowed to stay and live harmoniously among a group of extremists who are determined to wipe out anyone (in our entire world mind you-) who is not pledging an oath to Islam.  That's how the Islamic extremists work.  In case anyone wants to know- in my husbands office (he used to deal directly with terrorists and it is a tough job to convict people who haven't committed a crime yet- but it's even tougher to make sure they don't commit a crime because their crimes usually involve the destruction and loss of large amounts of people).
Anyway- back on track, he used to have in his office a world map that a group of Islamic Extremists created showing where their presence was in the world, where they "ran" a particular area (for example, Iraq was in black or red-whichever represented they had total control) and green were the areas that they would soon one day control.  Or maybe the colors were the other way around-regardless-you follow me, right?)  Guess what?  The entire map was covered with their colors.  Including North America.  They want total control.  Everywhere.

Now, people are probably saying, come on crazycatholicmomma, they can't take control of an entire world.....

Well, people didn't think Hitler would do what he did either.  But he did.  Matter of fact, I remember reading accounts of about his political reign and you wouldn't think he could do what he did.  And if you ever read anything about the Genocide in Rowanda (an excellent book is called, Left to Tell by Immaculee Illbagiza) you would find it hard to believe that our world sat and watched how thousands of Tutsi people were killed, mamed, beheaded, dismembered by the Hutu tribe.  She even speaks about how her people at first waited and prayed for anyone outside of Rowanda to send help.  They just knew someone would come.  But it took until almost the bitter end for anyone to decide to take military action.  It really is a horrible story to read, but worth reading to see how easy it is for people to believe another group can be convinced they are not worthy of living.  Shocking really.

To believe that an extremist group can not grow and become impossible to stop should not be considered far fetched.  Look at what has happened in Iraq so far.  And don't think there aren't people leaving other countries to go fight for this cause.  And don't think there aren't groups silently placed in our countries training for such things.  My husband has worked this stuff.  It's real.  Fortunately, so far, we've stayed someone ahead of the game.  But there are people who want the world to believe a certain way, and will go to extreme (hmmmm, hence extremist title?) to convince people to do so.

So, easing off my soap box.  We must not discount every story we here of these terrorists.  They have no feeling for anyone who doesn't conform.  They don't like us.  It's very real and I'm not living in some fairy scary land trying to make everyone paranoid.  It's a very real desire to convert everyone to their way of life.
 We must pray and we must be aware of everything.  Everywhere....

Monday, August 4, 2014


I had my appointment last week with my awesome OB.  She's so funny and honest and quite frankly, an amazing breathe of fresh air when dealing with doctors!! (which I notice I say quite frankly a LOT-I suppose I'm getting to that stage of my life where I'll start repeating stories, too, so just bare with me.  It started with that whole, I'm 41 and hitting menopause thing, remember?)

Ok, so I'm still pregnant.  I had another ultrasound and saw ANOTHER amazing picture of something I STILL can not fathom how people can't see is life.  LIFE.  LIFE DAMMIT.  Sorry, I am feeling rather sassy today because I am FEELING SO MUCH BETTER!!!!!!!!

I'm OLD and I'm STILL PREGNANT!!   Don't you see?  I'm at that lovely term that doctors like to label people with who are over age 35  AMA.(yes, 35 is considered old- bahahahahahahaha-I know people who have had 5 children since turning 35-so HA on you, OLD!!!)
What is AMA?  I'll tell you.  It's a terrible term.  Should be deemed as profiling if you ask me.... but you didn't, but you know I'll give my opinion anyway.  

Advanced Maternal Age


Yep.  I'm old.  According to webmd, women age 35-45 are 20% to 80% ( the lower percentage towards age 35, the higher towards age 45) more likely to have a miscarriage.  That is extremely high and extremely scary.  Those who have never had a miscarriage, probably don't understand the impact of a miscarriage on a woman.  It's hard.  It's probably one of the MOST unspoken about, painful, horrible parts of being a mom during our fertile years.  I have had more than my share of miscarriages and they ranged from seeing a baby alive and kicking at 6 weeks and dying 3 weeks later, to seeing a positive pregnancy test one day and miscarrying the next.  My babies are missed every single day.  John Matthew, Gemma Rose, Michael and Maria.  They all have taken a small piece of my heart with them when they passed from this place to the next.  I am comforted in the fact that my God mourned with me, He loves life, and that I will one day meet these gems in my life and that is what makes it ok.  

But this pregnancy not only came as a little surprise to me, but I knew all the dangers of being pregnant after 40.  Not that these dangers are some how "all ok" now that I'm past the first trimester, but the odds are better for me to carry this little peanut to term.  (and before anyone has a chance to say it, yes, old also runs the increased risk of defects/abnormalities, too, but I have plenty of people in my world who have had amazing children with some defect or another and they were extremely young, so defects can happen at any stage of the game and certainly don't (and WON'T) change my love or desire for this child).

And that baby.  I teared up once again when I saw this little monkey jumping and dancing all over my belly.  Kicking, jumping, moving it's little arms above his/her head.  All of it.  

Little Baby #7 kicking away! 14 weeks!

I never tire of watching the scene on that screen.  Life is amazing.


The all day sickness, the fabulous varicose veins, the spotting, the crazy highs and lows of depression, are all signs that my body, as old as it, is working (which, seriously, I don't think I'm "old" at all-I think all my birthing/nursing/raising the munchkins has helped my "parts" stay pretty darn young if you want my un-scientific opinion!!!).

I had a slight scare when they said there was blood in my urine sample, but then the doctor made me feel a million times better.  Sometimes, (as it seems happens more often then not with this pregnancy) we bleed.  Or we have blood.  Shoot- when I was "young" and pregnant with #5, I poured blood out of me as though I was miscarrying at 9 weeks, only to find out there was a pocket of blood trapped above my baby that decided to find its way out of me.  I bled until the baby was big enough to "plug" it up at 20 weeks, but I bled every day nonetheless!  I need to remember that when I panic over these "old lady" things!!!

So today I found out I'm all good, tests came back negative, and I'm cruising until my "big" ultrasound on September 4th!  That's the one where they can actually certainly see the sex of the baby-even though several are convinced they could see boy parts this ultrasound, this next one will for sure see parts-with baby's cooperation of course- but the big question is- Will my amazing husband cave this time and let me find out?  We both have always been extremely adamant about not finding out the sex of the baby until birth.  We have had the BEST time keeping people guessing on the sex.  I love how the doctors and nurses get excited when they find out we don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl.  I think they are just as thrilled when the baby comes out and they get to announce it!  It's probably a lost art with the technology we have today- and of course, in keeping with my "old fashioned" ways-probably very un-trendy to most to not find out!  

But there is a little desire now to find out.  If in fact, those ARE boy parts people are seeing, I think I'd like to affirm it.  It's not that I would prefer a boy over a girl- all babies are a gift and certainly, the children we have are given to us because we believe God knows exactly what we are capable of dealing with-but now it's more just to start preparing!  I have ZERO boy clothes.  I have ZERO boy things.  I really have very little left for baby girls because #5 baby girl wore the rest of the clothing we had, pretty much OUT!  

Plus, I sometimes tend to think since my husband is doomed to have a dozen girls, that I don't spend much time on a boy's name.  I really study girls names, but for boys, I get one I think I could "live" with and leave it at that.  I'd like to try to put some thought into a boy's name if I knew for certain it was a boy!  

So a month from today, I will have the big ultrasound.  Four weeks.  I have four weeks to convince my sweet hubs to let me know whats cooking inside me.  Is it another sweet little girl?  Or is it another sweet rambunctious boy?  We shall see!!

But either way- I'M STILL PREGNANT!!!!!! 

And maybe just a "little" old...   :)