A Beautiful Life.

Last night, received news that a long-time family friend passed away from pancreatic cancer. She survived longer than expected, but it still shocks the system to realize that she’s now gone.

Life is so incredibly short. I found myself feeling terrible about how I get caught up in petty drama. Why not just let that go & live life to the fullest?

We take others for granted so much. One moment they are there to greet us; the next moment, they are gone. Why do we continue to act as if we will live forever? That our loved ones will always be there for us?

I remember last year, when I was about to leave my hometown and move to Denver. We had a birthday party for her & she gave my sister and me going-away gifts: the necklace shown below.

She said to us,

“Never forget where you came from.”

And, I won’t. Her family has helped our family out so much. Now, to make her spirit proud…I won’t give up.

20120629-174011.jpg

Death, Depression, Society: Whitney Houston & Leslie Carter

  In the past day, I’ve heard and read about two celebrities’ deaths due to drug overdoes/depression/et. al.: Whitney Houston and Leslie Carter (sister of Nick and Aaron Carter). So far, no cause of death has been released regarding Houston, but spectators on social media have already assumed it was due to drug overdose. Carter was addicted to her prescription drugs to treat her anxiety and depression.

And again, society perpetuates the assumption: depressed/mentally ill = drug overdose/crazy/etc.

Houston deserved it. She was a druggie. Why are you sad/surprised she died?

It stings to read these words from those who will never understand the pain of a loved one falling into the trap of drugs to cure emotional pain.

Would you say this same thing to your sister who is battling a drug problem? Your own child? Your best friend?

Over time, especially since my own diagnosis two years ago, I have noticed how society continues to make depression/mental illness such a stigma. It is “wrong” to seek help for my depression. Because I am depressed, I am crazy. Because I had a public meltdown in San Francisco, I am deemed crazy. I had to go to an inpatient facility for a week after that. While there, though, I realized so many of the other patients were battling the same disease: depression. And yet, we were all perfectly normal, human, as well. We just needed a little more help and support.

Once, I had a colleague say to our other colleague, “Good thing you didn’t stay with your ex-boyfriend [because he is suicidal]. You don’t want to end up with a crazy person!” I sat there, feeling the sting of the statement and wanting to lash out in defense.

Do you believe that those who admit publicly that they are depressed that they are crazy? Do you feel they should keep it to themselves?

I have no shame in explaining my situation to those who care to listen. I know I am a stronger person for the help I have sought and the medication I take. I am healing, but I also still have moments of unrest.

It is a shame how our world works, to where stars like Houston, Carter, and even Amy Winehouse are ridiculed during their lives and after they pass away. Yes, drug use is terrible. But, can we not pull away that layer and realize that underneath, there are sad souls wanting help from others?

It is time for us to re-examine ourselves and our thoughts. Not everyone out there using drugs/abusing alcohol/etc. is “crazy”. Ask them what their story is. You may be surprised that their story is just like yours, only a little darker.

Daily Post Day 40: What a Fool Believes…

Today’s prompt:

What’s something you never believed until you experienced it?

I never believed in getting a second chance in life until two near-death experiences in the past month/year.

I never believed that time could slow down until these experiences came to be. I was practically forced to slow down after almost dying twice.

But now I am better, stronger, from what I have experienced. I try my best to live each day fully, learning from what I have experienced with almost dying (twice).

Stop; think.

Say you’re speeding along on a road, skipping a few stop signs here and there because you’re late for some sort of appointment/party/meet-up/etc. You’re racing the clock and you can’t be bothered with paying attention to traffic rules.

Say you’re a pedestrian walking along in your neighborhood, observing all the stop signs and making sure the coast is clear.

Suddenly, a car comes zooming out of nowhere and the driver neglects to stop for you.

You are the driver. You see the pedestrian one second too late.

The pedestrian is suddenly on top of your hood. And the pedestrian is no more.

Now, you think to yourself “Did I really need to be in a hurry to get to wherever I was going?”

Was it all worth killing someone over? Running over an innocent pedestrian?

Think about it next time you get into your car.

Unexplainable: Michael Jackson-related incident

It’s been a couple days since Michael Jackson passed away, and all the world/blogosphere is still buzzing away about the death. It’s still very hard for me to believe that the man died at the still-young age of 50; I remember growing up listening to his music and watching old music videos of the Jackson 5 on VH1. My siblings and I used to aspire to learn all the dance moves and found ourselves garbling together the lyrics of songs such as “Dancing Machine” and “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”.

The point of this entry is not simply to remember Jackson, but to also present a strange incident that occurred to me on the morning of the 25th:

It was just a normal Thursday morning for me; hopped onto the bus, took my 40-minute commute downtown. I crossed Market Street and was walking towards the office building when, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a character dressed up strangely: the man was wearing a Michael Jackson-esque outfit, similar to what Jackson wore for his “Thriller” video. At first, I thought the guy was just dressed up weirdly and I shrugged it off as being “Oh, this is San Francisco; I’ve seen weird characters before.” But then, I studied the man’s outfit a little longer, and I realized that, in fact, he was intentionally dressing up as Michael Jackson, with the single white glove and everything. I didn’t study the man’s face too long; this whole little incident only took probably a minute out of my time that morning. It was 8 AM PST.

Michael Jackson was taken to the hospital around 12 PM PST. He died around 3 PM PST.

So, then, how did that man know? What was the purpose of that man dressing up as Michael Jackson so early in the morning? Did he somehow know? Was he deemed a “crazy man” but, in actuality, has psychic powers?

I hadn’t even thought much of that morning incident until the news broke of Jackson’s death and then, suddenly, that image of the man from the morning came back to me, and I felt myself growing spooked.

I don’t know if I’ll ever know what that man had meant by the outfit, but it sure gave me something unexpected to ponder upon.